This week I’m going to share some of my favourite Swimwear Sewing Tips! I sew A LOT of swimwear, and *whispers* it’s my favourite thing to sew– but bras are a close second! And to be fair to my bra sewing – most of my bathing suits have bras in them!
So this post is all about my 5 Top Tips for sewing swimwear, some of these are collected from my past posts, and some of them are just little tips that haven’t mentioned yet. Here we go!
1. Quality Thread
When I was a kid, my mom made all my bathing suits, and I remember pulling my bathing suit out of my drawer a couple months after summer, (usually right before I needed it to go somewhere) and hearing the little ping of sad and worn out thread snapping in a million little places as I tested the leg elastic. The thread was always the first to go- thread, elastic, and then the fabric.
One thing that I’ve discovered that has completely changed my sewing is high-quality thread. It works better in your machine, it looks better, and it lasts SO much longer. For swimwear I recommend polyester thread (since cotton will hold moisture), and specifically I use the Mara 120 thread from Gütermann, which is an industrial polyester thread. I also use it on all my bras too- once you get the luxury of nice thread, well you just can’t go back!
I will be selling this thread very soon in my Etsy Shop!!
2. Binding Edge
This is a real favourite of mine. I find so often swimwear is always the same type of edge sewn with elastic- which is great- but sometimes for a really neat finish- you can’t beat binding. Binding is great if you want an edge that is not too tight- like if you’re making a more cheeky style bottom (or even if you’ve tried on your suit and find that it’s just a little too tight for you around the legs or waist like I did with this navy medium rise bottom!)
It’s also great when you’re working with foam to reduce bulk, and when you’re working with a variable neckline (the top of a round cup- over channeling, around to the back)! Like in this bra bathing suit.
Apart from these reasons, it’s also fantastic to add a little pop and coordinate your colours like I did on my most recent suit- that nice little black edge!
3. Put your Bra in your Bathing Suit
This is an Emerald Erin classic. Nothing feels as good as a bra in your swimsuit- no worrying about your nipples showing, it’s way more flattering, and feels so much more secure on.
There are so many ways that you can put a bra into a bathing suit:
like simply making your bra with foam and swimwear and wearing it as your bikini top (I have some tips on working with foam and bras here)
But you can also make a one-piece with cups which is oh-so-cute! Tutorial here!
Or you can turn your bra into a tankini using this tutorial here!
4. Use Elastic in your Swimwear Straps & Strings!
I’ve seen a lot of bikinis where the string is simply a tube of swimwear fabric. The problem I find with this is: it’s not feel very secure on your body unless you pull them REALLY tight, and then if you do pull them REALLY tight- chances are you’re going to snap some of the threads holding them together. I much prefer to use a 3/8″ all-rubber swim elastic and wrap it in my swimwear. They feel SO secure, and with the strength of the elastic, you know you’ll never just completely pull them out- they bounce back!
I know two good ways to sew your swimwear strings! And I did a tutorial on them here 🙂
5. Take Care of your Swimwear!
This seems obvious, but I’m still a victim. One story comes to mind- over a year ago now I was heading to California for a vacation to visit family. I had made a cute bathing suit– a bralette style top with a cool pattern with bright neon coral, and neon coral bottoms to match. I was in the hotel – flight leaving in the morning- and we were all ‘let’s jump in the hot tub’…. you can see where this is going. About 5 minutes into the hot tub time, I look down to see that all of the neon coral in my swim top is now purple, and I got out to realize that a similar effect happened to my bottoms. Only the bottoms were solid neon coral before, and now they were a faded neon coral anywhere they were tight and touching my skin, but anywhere there were they weren’t (think a strip up the center back) was now a murky purple colour.
That concluded in a very disappointed me, doing a midnight run to the closest/cheapest spot I could find for a plain pair of black bottoms.
So what I have learned is: DO NOT wear your beautifully hand-crafted swimwear in a hot tub (especially not a hotel hot tub), rinse you’re bathing suit immediately after being in chlorine to help save the elastic for longer, and don’t throw your bathing suits in the washing machine- gentle soaps, and let it air dry!
So those are my Top 5 Tips!
What are your favourite tips for sewing swimwear?
Talk to me in the comments!
I had to call this one my ‘Slice of Paradise’, partly because I took these photos in a gorgeous secluded beach in the south of Prince Edward County, that is a paradise, and because this bathing suit is everything I wanted and more!
When I first thought about the design of this suit, I was like ‘MOM! How cool would this be??’ (since my mom is my go-to person to get opinions) and her response was a little more along the…. ‘That reminds me of the 80’s, in a mens wrestling outfit kinda way’. Which was not quite the look I was going for. But at this point in my swimwear wardrobe, I can afford to take some risks ha ha
There is something so special about this suit, it makes me feel like an absolute beach babe 🙂
I think one of my favourite parts of this suit is the bra top. Normally I’m not much of a strapless girl, but I have to say, I wore this suit all day, climbing over rocks, swimming and jumping all over, and I didn’t even think about adjusting the top once! I was pretty amazed.
I drafted the bottoms of this suit based off my favourite bikini bottoms, because I love the cut of the leg. The legs are finished with elastic, but the top edge and racer back are finished with a self-binding edge, which was a nice and tidy way to attach the little rings to connect the straps.
The bra pattern was based on my black beauty horizontal seam fav, and I used my Bliss underwires (which are a great option for strapless and keeping the girls together and up!). There are a couple little modifications to do for a strapless, like narrowing the bridge, making the band a hint tighter and taking a pinch out of the neckline of your cup(right about where your strap would have been).
For the back I decided to do my classic, three straps with G-hooks, and I used these gorgeous gold ones that I got in a trade from Tailor Made Shoppe <3
As for this photoshoot location, well this is a gorgeous little rock beach in the south of Prince Edward County <3, and yes, this is an oak tree that’s growing off the edge of a very high cliff, but this photo is a bit of an illusion, I’m not quite as ‘perched on the edge’ as I look.
But to counter-balance the heights, I made sure to have some time laying on the beach too 🙂
And of course, the mandatory Gibby photo, because even if he’s soaking wet, I’m going to hug him 🙂 He was SO happy that he got to come along for this photo shoot, he’s quite an avid little swimmer!
Is this my favourite suit of the summer? I can say, absolutely yes! I’m in love!
What is your favourite style of swimsuit?
Talk to me in the comments!
First order of business- the giveaway! I was SO overwhelmed by how many people entered and all of your ideas are SO amazing- it makes me want to break open my stash and start sewing! And I really hope that you all go ahead with some of these ideas after this giveaway! 🙂
and now for the winner…. drumroll please……
Lucky number 16! Congratulations Leora!
Leora will win her choice of:
SO GORGEOUS!! I’m so excited to see the stunning swimsuit this is going to be! Congrats Leora- a message should already be in your inbox!
And a HUGE thank you again to everyone who entered the contest! You’re the best!
And now on the the Round-Up of your beautiful makes this month– because you guys really are the best! 🙂
First we have this stunning longline from Réka of Red Heels!
This bra was the relief from Rékas short bra making hiatus, and what a lovely return! This gorgeous all-lace, longline bra with a horizontal seam! Stunning!
This bra has such a pretty and light quality! It almost looks like it could float off the hanger! Love it!!
Next we have a lovely set from Marian of Il Signo!
This is her Panther bra set and oh it’s gorgeous! She used a sheer fabric with panther print for the cups, toped with some lovely lace trimmings! I love how she used the sheer and lace and panels to make the matching panties, great style!
This is Kat’s first bra! WOW! she did an amazing job! A lovely three piece cup with seamed powerbar and top lace cup! Fantastic!
After this Kat said that she is becoming a bra making addict- and I’m so happy to help with that addiction 🙂
Next we have two beauties from Anemone of Sew Anemone!
Anemone made two bras using the Boylson pattern from Orange Lingerie, with some fitting tweaks and adjustments along the way!
After she found her perfect fit in plain ivory, she decided to indulge in some lace, this gold lace that she got from my shop :)- and WOW it is SO pretty! I love how it turned out- still simple and easy to wear, but oh so delicate and lovely!
First of all- Cat bra- OMG, I NEED this in my life- this bra is just the ultimate. So much inspiration right now- you already have me planning!
Ginny made this bra using this amazing cat print for the lower cup, and black bra tulle for the upper cup, with this lovely diagonal seam, partial band construction 🙂
The matching panties were made using the Budapest high-waisted panty pattern from our lovely first contributor Réka, with cat print front and sheer back. SO cute!
And to round the month out, Ginny made this gorgeous Sofie swimsuit! How stunning is this! With the gorgeous floral, and complimenting ‘linen look’ accents- wow!
Ginny makes all of these beauties for her very luck niece Emma, who says she feels like a movie star in this bathing suit! I can definitely see why- that is a suit worthy of the stars!
Well that was quite the beautiful line-up this month! You’re all so inspiring 🙂 🙂 You have me dreaming of lace and cats- so I guess nothing is new 🙂
Hope you’re all having a gorgeous summer weekend (or winter weekend for all my lovelies who live in the southern hemisphere)
This week I’m mixing it up and having a GIVEAWAY!! YAY Don’t you love that extra Sunday in July!
I love giveaways 🙂 and sharing with all of you lovelies! I wanted to do a giveaway a few weeks back – but I was interrupted by the Canada Post possible lock out *sigh*
But it’s all clear now!! And I’m soooo happy to announce that my Emerald Studio Etsy shop is OPEN during the 30-day Canada Post negotiations (let’s hope they come to a good agreement after these 30 days!)
Now for the giveaway!!- I was thinking about which fabric and kit I should pick to give away and then I realized that I wanted to hear more about your dream swimsuit and swimwear kits! And I want you to be able to pick out the perfect kit for you!!
So this is how it works:
First you can pick one of my ‘Basics Kits’: which is the series I designed to make swimwear sewing easier- they include everything you need for different types of swimwear! All of your lining, elastic, G-hooks, and bra stuff for bra-swimsuits!
The Basics Options Are:
As usual, you can be anyone from anywhere to enter the giveaway!
Also, you know it wouldn’t hurt if you followed me on any of my social medias either.. you know… might be nice… 😉
I LOVE this bra, and I was instantly inspired to make it after I made these boyshorts back in May! To me it’s a very comfy and simple chic set! I drew inspiration from brands like Calvin Klein who have a more ‘athletic and boyish’ chic 🙂
For extra comfort I made sure to have my wide straps and 3X3 hook and eye, which I love, even if it’s not the norm for my size. I think it looks cooler for this style!
To keep in a more RTW look and with the grey bamboo theme, I covered not only the front frame, but also the back band with the bamboo, so it was uninterrupted all the way around, which I LOVE.
I took this exact cup pattern from the Black Beauty bra (one of my all-time favs), omitted the powerbar, and redesigned the upper cup to have a strap attachment point.
I LOVE the horizontal seams on this bra, I think they give a really clean and simple look 🙂
And the inside is just as simple, with some soft microfiber laminated foam, 15 denier lining for the frame, and white powernet lining on the back.
I think there’s something so fresh about this set. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little delicate lacy set, but something about a more boyish plain set like this makes me super happy 🙂
And of course, this must round up with some Gibby snuggles 🙂
What do you think about this new set? Are you more simple sporty chic or a more delicate lace lover? I feel like I’m a style chameleon that way- I just love a bit of everything!
Hope you’re all having an amazing weekend!